Does this describe your prayer life?
- Buzzing through prayer because the rest of your day is more exciting to consider.
- Making mental to-do lists while mouthing rote prayers to God.
- Slipping prayer in around errands — if you remember to pray at all.
For many of us, our prayer life lacks depth and life. It can even become boring. So what are we missing? Time? Discipline? Perhaps. But maybe our hum-drum prayer problems stem from a basic misunderstanding of the purpose of prayer.
What is prayer?
Simply put, prayer is “talking with God.” I was recently surprised to discover that throughout Scripture the major underlying theme of prayer is supplication.¹ Not worship or praise or thanks. Supplication in this context means “earnestly seeking something from God.”
Most of us are pros at that, so the answer to what we are missing must be in what we seek. Are we focused on fulfilling a duty? Are we looking to get things? Even when we spend time praising God and seeking things for His kingdom, we still may miss a crucial point.
You see, God doesn’t drag us into His presence and demand we fulfill a quota or go through a prayer list. And He doesn’t call us to pray just so we can tell Him how wonderful He is. He invites us into prayer so we can discover how wonderful He is. God is personal and wants to interact with us, and prayer is how He does it. Prayer is God’s invitation for His people to explore His heart and an invitation to pour out ours.
That means the first thing God calls us to seek in prayer is Himself.
Prayer joins us heart to heart, Spirit to spirit, with the One who created us. Prayer joins us heart to heart and Spirit to spirit with the One who created us. Click To Tweet
True prayer is knowing and being known. Prayer happens when we touch the hem of His robe and His love flows into us.²
Webster’s dictionary defines “intimacy” like this: “marked by very close association, contact, or familiarity . . . a warm friendship developing through long association. Prayer feeds our friendship with God. Like an umbilical cord that connects us to Him, it keeps our hearts pumping with His passions, our mind in sync with His.
Prayer is God’s love language and through it, He anchors our heart in His.Prayer is God's love language that anchors our heart in His. Click To Tweet
A missionary once summarized it like this:
“The essence of prayer does not consist in asking God for something but in opening our hearts to God, in speaking with Him and living with Him in perpetual communion. [It] is continual abandonment to God. Prayer does not mean asking God for all kinds of things we want; it is rather the desire for God Himself, the only Giver of Life, Prayer is not asking, but union with God. [It] is not a painful effort to gain from God help in the varying needs of our lives. Prayer is the desire to possess God Himself, the Source of all life. The true spirit of prayer does not consist in asking for blessings, but in receiving Him who is the giver of all blessings, and in living a life of fellowship with Him.” Sadhu Sundar Singh
Doesn’t that make you hungry for prayer? Today, let’s lay aside our distraction, petitions, and lists, and make seeking God the goal of our prayers!
What helps you connect intimately with God?
Photos courtesy of Crestock.com